SO LONG, FAREWELL 2020... but I will miss you.

SO LONG, FAREWELL 2020... but I will miss you.

What a freaking year.  It started "normal"... we had a cruise and Disney planned for the end of February- first week of March with our BFFs...  Covid was still something across the pond and when we left it was just in Washington state in a nursing home with about 4 positive cases.  We made it to Disney the week before they shut it down.   We made it on the boat -but half way through things started changing... HOWEVER, we did not really have any cell service and made it a point to not want to be on our phones to REALLY enjoy this trip.   We had all 7 of our kids with us so it was even more special.   That trip was one for the books.  We will talk about it forever.   For so many reasons.   For secret covid on the ship (which we did not know about),  for watching the kids take over the ship, for a crazy off the grid adventure in Jamaica- including someone being rushed away off the ship in a rescue, for a beautiful day in Mexico (minus the fact there were not enough tender boat to take everyone - it was a fiasco) and a sweet gift from my husband oh and the watermelon rind alcohol jello .  For watching our kids with their best friends and being with ours.   For making it to Grand Cayman only to have minor internet that would not load much only to tell us to make sure we had toilet paper 🧐.   We had no idea what that even meant... and then realized everyone was out... so from the beach we ordered online boxes sent home!   We saw that basketball was canceled and began to figure out that things were not as they were when we left.  We heard another ship was not allowed back... we wondered if we would be allowed back... we got into port the next morning, there was a delay but we finally were allowed to get off... we ran like hell before they changed their minds... then we wondered if we would be allowed to fly home... we did.... to a world that had changed.  Once we got internet back it was almost like entering the twilight zone.   That is all I can think to describe it.  We left normalcy... went to the tropics and with no warning the world was different.   We had to quarantine for 14 days... but some of us came home sick and I had to wait 21 for one of the first covid test results.   I have never had an URI like that one.  I could not even talk.   The poor doc came in and did not even know the proper way to put on or take off his PPE and we all kind of awkwardly laughed about how in an instant the world changed.  It was true.  Everything changed.  I was tested at the tail I end of my URI and was covid negative, although so many symptoms matched... who knows.  I do know whatever virus I caught, I have not ever experienced.   I have had mono twice and that sucked but this was can't catch your breath bad. 

The school went remote which was an amazing concept in and of itself.    One of my kids was very happy and thrived.   The others not as much.  BUT we made the best of things.  We got into a cool groove, the weather got nicer, we live in a circle and filled the center of it with a mini playground.  I held school outside everyday we could, we had SO much fresh air.   I had 6 of my 7 kids home and for the beginning of the stay at home order it was hard.   Especially for my adult child.   To go from on your own to rules and sharing of spaces again was different.   I loved having everyone home.  I joked that at that time I was the only happy person to hear we had to stay put.   

I know why though.   2 straight years of daily doctor's appointments- and on most days it was not just one.   With 3-4 kids in OT, 2 plus me in PT, other doctor appointments for Connor's recovery daily... it was a lot.  Fast food everyday, rushing around, having a baby in the middle of it and not really getting to enjoy the "lasts". I was tired.  I had gained too much weight.  My anxiety was not always in check.  I was not my best self.   I was still a good mom but I was not always kind to ME.    I knew that this time was a gift to me.  With everything shut down we had to stay home... We had to eat better, we had to relax more.  AND I had come to the realization that I needed to take a deep breath and get healthier.   I changed my medication (I used to not want to admit I needed it.... I wanted people to think I was superwomen... but it is okay to take care of your brain.   Mine does not make the right amount of serotonin or dopamine or melatonin and it metabolizes medication more quickly than average my neurotransmitters need a pep talk).  I got real with my doc and she said to me,  you know, when you only treat half an issue you're not really treating it... Damn.   18 years I waited.    I have some life long brain injuries due to too many severe foolish concussions and for some reason (ego?  stigma?   fear?  too cool?) did not take care of that.   I am proud to say I am on meds that help me AND I am finally in PT for my damn brain.    When your trusted doc tells you, "yeah you're fucked 🤣", you know it's not good.   No easy fixes and even harder with covid rules.    I got healthier than I have ever been this year though.  AND I loved myself!  I saw the world with bright glasses and made mindfulness my mantra.   

REALLY.   I looked at flowers and appreciated their beauty.   The colors were brighter.   I Loved my kids and husband harder AND I took care of ME.   It is AMAZING what happens when you start to accept yourself and you love yourself and you begin to really practice mindfulness in all ways.    

The days got hotter and we spent them together.   We swam every day for hours.   We laughed, ate... we decided to expand our deck since we spent so much time in the yard.   

School came to a close and I wondered how they would ever go back to a classroom all day again.   We spent HOURS outside.  HOURS.  DAYS.  WEEKS.  MONTHS.  School was all around us.  If the younger kids did not really take to their lesson for the day we made our own... Liam graduated middle school in covid style.   I was actually quite fascinated at how much more personal graduations got.   I know many were upset... but I tried taking each day with my mindfulness and appreciating it. 

C had summer work to do and no team to help so that meant I took over as the team.  He had 3 classes.   One was super intense.   Health.   TOTAL BODY HEALTH.  We did it together.   2 brain injured folks plugging away sometimes no joke 9 hours a day.  It was painful, raw, frustrating, and real.    We had real conversations.    AND we did it all outside.   Even when I had to force him 😊. Good ole vitamin D! 

We did projects around the house,  kids and I built a garden and grew veggies.  Lee talked me out of getting chickens.... well actually it was mainly the ordinance in our town.... but researching with the kids was actually quite fun.  Our deck became a reality.   We decorated the yard and deck and pool area.  We used it day and night.  There was no where else to go!   

Finn turned 2 (what!!!) in a Two the Moon covid party... Liam turned 14 with his 2 BFFs.  We were lucky to be able to quarantine with our best friends.   We kept a very, very small quaranteam.   It worked for all of us.   

We spent special time together with the ones closest too us.   Mother Earth may have realized we are all so busy.   Appointments, sports, travel sports, meetings, filling our schedules so there is no downtime.  I said to the kids, looks like the world needed to pause.   AND sometimes we do.  

PLEASE KNOW that I am not in any way downplaying the financial hardships of this year, or those struggling with mental health and loneliness.  I have been there.  IT IS AWFUL.   We had to take a furlough.  I get it.   I am just emphasizing my own personal journey though this year like no other. 

Summer school ended, we got a few weeks of no real place to be... Zoom appts became a thing and that worked sometimes..  If it didn't, I let it go.   I found within myself that picking my battles was okay.  My kids are okay.  They are not perfect.  We struggled hard with some.  Each processed this year in a totally different way.   I have 7 really different beings.   There were days I cried, a lot.  Days I wondered how bad of a mom I actually was.   This was not all glitter and unicorns shitting rainbows.   There were hours long calls to doctors.   There were realities that needed facing.  There were blow ups and there was sadness.

BUT you know what.   We were a team.   AND I hope that is one major things my family fully understands after this year.    No matter what, as long as you are still breathing, we can figure it out.   This is something I have always said to my children and I sincerely mean it.   Let me also say we live in the "greatest country" "the land of the free" "a place dreamers come". and our American Health care system is FUCKED..  I spent MONTHS trying to get mental health help.  Not for me and it does not actually matter for who.   BUT holy shit.  Call after call, phone tag, wait lists.   It does not matter that this was "Covid times".  This is a freaking reality.   This is not politics.  AND for the love of GOD do not call yourself pro life if you do not think we need an overhaul and REAL and BETTER healthcare.  Not only have I seen my son denied a literal handful of times for LIFESAVING surgery pre covid.   BUT cutting mental health care left and right is a disgrace.   There should not be phone tag, wait lists and professionals being stretched so thin they cannot take anyone else on.   "we so sympathize with you, I actually cannot even fathom, but we just cannot take anyone else on".  OVER AND OVER.  I am neither Democrat or Republican.    Our 2 party system is just smoke mirrors and games.  SO please do not go political on me.  


I got to see my family react to the changes in the country.   Black Lives Matter was not hard for us to say.    Seeing everyone's take - especially my religious friends was very eye opening.   All Lives Matter posts and chants I could not take, still cannot.   Unfriend me, I do not give a shit.  (Thanks for that 2020), YOU CANNOT SAY ALL LIVES MATTER UNTIL YOU CAN SAY BLACK LIVES MATTER.   IT IS NOT POLITICAL.  

...and for the love of god while I am at it, we got to vote in arguably the most important Presidential race of all time.   I LOATHED one man, I thought the other was not a good decision by the party... BUT the thing that made me about get off social media for good???  "I voted Trump because I am prolife" 🧐  Huh?  PLEASE.  You are pro birth and that is a hard truth to realize.   Look, I have never had to make the decision to terminate a pregnancy.  I have lost multiple by nature.   BUT abortions were around LONG before Roe V Wade.  You are not going to change that.   You will only prevent safer ones.   It does not matter if you like it or not.   Do you openly support free health care?  Do you believe in Food Stamps and Free housing for those who need it??? Do you actively campaign for it?  Do you fight tooth and nail when a candidate wants to lessen it or make it harder... do you think the guidelines for poverty are so outdated it is insane????  NO?   You are not pro life.  

Okay Off that frigging soap box.   Really unfriend me if that makes you mad.  I do not care.  I also wonder who even reads this all the way through.  🤣. THAT will tell me. 

I decided to be brave one night... as I stay up pretty late and sometimes Lee is getting up for work as I am winding down... I greeted him with "Babe, I am going to build my own brand."  He did not even blink.  He has supported EVERYTHING.  I learned as I went.   I learned it all fast.  I am still learning.  I spent day and night building this brand.... I then REBUILT it from the ground up again when I saw what I wanted to change... I am proud of Dissent Wear and I am having a blast.   I hope my kids learned that 1.  You are never too old, or busy, or brain broken to live your dream.  2. It is not easy, but if you love something you keep at it, if something does not work you fix it, you learn as you go.   You keep going.  DO IT. 

I was SO freaking proud of Cam as he decided to be brave enough to live his this year.   LIKE SO PROUD.

We almost lost my Grandfather to Covid and he proved to us that he is indeed the strongest man we know.   I never appreciated his hugs as much as I did when I got to see him after that.  I never appreciated the time listening to his stories or wanting to hear more until this and GOD I look forward to post winter and seeing him again.   

The year started to wind down, I became more and more proud as I watched each of my children take on new things.   Each one.  Each age.  

I am by NO means a perfect mom.   We are by NO means a perfect family.  I actually just paused to laugh.   I screw up all the time.   BUT we are a team.  We are important to each other.  No matter what course we are on we come back together.   When one of us needs something we come together.  We are so lucky. 

There were lots of surprises in 2020.   BUT the year has ended this last week FULL of family time.   Time I cherish as a mother.   Snapshots I took and will keep in my heart.   AND my parents moving to the next street over (I dream of a family compound so this is priceless to me).  ALSO going to my childhood home today on this last day of 2020 brought a lot to process.  Seeing it empty.  Bare, raw.  Lots of emotion came to me.  Things I will process.   Things I processed while I was there... all of that for another blog.  I promise to write far more in 2021.... I have been a little off the last few weeks.... and that is okay too.   Again more on all of that in a later blog. 

This year was CHALK full of heartaches, heartbreaks, hard lessons, constant changes, new ways of doing things, did I mention soooo many changes?  But I learned SO much.  I will remember so many lessons.  I will do things differently.  I grew so much as a person.  As a woman, as a mother as a daughter, as a teacher, as a friend, as an ally, as someone spiritual.   

One of the biggest lessons.   Do not plan.   God will laugh. 😆 

No really, HERE IS TO 2021.  Who the hell knows what it will bring.   BUT I will enter it a changed person.   I will be kinder to myself,   I will be more intentional with my time.  I will say no when I need to.   I will continue to work on healing from my past.  I will work on not caring what others think of me.   I will continue to speak out in the places I am privileged.   AND in the places I am vulnerable.  I will not be bullied.   I will love my family fiercely and protect them in all ways and Damn it, I will HAVE FUN.    




Judith Rosen
Judith Rosen

So proud of you Karen. You are an amazing woman who I am happy to call my daughter in law. ❤️❤️❤️

candice v barton
candice v barton

thank you for the blog. you make me proud

Lisa Beecher
Lisa Beecher

My heart is full of love and pride, so much so that all I can do is sit quietly in it. 💕


Thank you for sharing your journey with us. 2020 was hard, but filled with so many blessings.

Melissa Beecher
Melissa Beecher


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